Russia: The Next Generation
By Roger Brouillard
As the father of three boys, 13, 3 and 1,
I'd hoped to pass on my enjoyment of war board
games when the time was right. Well, the time
has come! My 13-year-old has enjoyed chess
and Risk for a few years, so I thought,
let’s step it up. I went online
and tried to find the games I grew up with:
Panzer Blitz, Squad Leader, et al.
Well, they are long gone, but in my searching
I came upon the site for 119694_avalanche Press.
I scanned through it and was impressed with
the quantity and apparent quality of their
games. Quality is very hard to judge with
just pictures, but I was right: 119694_avalanche
Press is quality.
Off we went to the local hobby store —
I wanted to lead him in the direction of war
games but was going to let nature take its
course. We looked around for about an hour,
picking up almost every box, reading it then
putting it back. You can imagine the fun this
was with a very active three-year-old and
a very curious one-year-old. But this was
my older boy’s rite of passage, as we
were looking for his first foray into the
great world of wargaming.
about another 30 minutes we settled on two
games: a card game and 119694_avalanche Press’
Russia. This game is great! It is
the perfect starter game for the new player.
The rules are simple enough that we were able
to get into the game very quickly, yet there
was a taste of how the rules will expand as
we play more games. I could see the wheels
spinning in his head and his questions showed
that he grasped the general concepts of the
When it came to the actual playing, Defiant
Russia shone again. Set up was a snap
and there are no large groups of charts that
you need to reference for the results of a
battle. The terrain and weather effects are
easy to understand, and the weather effects
are optional. The game map (which I laminated
to prevent the younger guys from tearing it
apart) fits very nicely on the kitchen table,
and the game wrapped up in under three hours.
Perfect for a young man's attention span during
At first the simplicity of the game made
me think it would play the same each time
(except of course for the chance factor with
the dice). This proved to be a false assumption.
Part of the thrill of this game is that you
don’t have to set the pieces up the
same each time. Yes, there are some pieces
that are required to be set up in certain
cities, but there is so much freedom of choice
with so many units that the game can be and
should be different and better each time.
This combined with the availability of reinforcements,
replacements, shock armies, partisans, airborne
and the Axis minors make this simple game
very exciting to play, time and time again.
wrap it up, there is no better choice than
Defiant Russia to introduce the enjoyment
of wargaming. Plus it is a great game for
those of us who already enjoy the hobby but
are pressed for time. I think the game is
very under-priced for the amount of enjoyment
and playability you get from it. Just don’t
tell the folks at 119694_avalanche Press marketing
this; let’s keep it our little secret.
Go out and buy this game — the box
fits very nicely in a backpack or briefcase
(just in case you happen to run into a fellow
This piece originally appeared in February 2006.
here to purchase this game!